David R. Currie
A Rancher's Rumblings
April 24, 2007


Charles Wade, the Executive Director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, has announced that he will retire, effective January 31, 2008. This announcement came 2 weeks ago, and I intended to write about Charles last week. To be honest, though, much like my writing about John Baugh, I needed an extra week to crystallize my thoughts on Charles.

Charles is a special person to me. He baptized Lance and Chad, my sons. He is my friend of 20 years. In fact, before there was officially a Baptists Committed, Charles led the effort to resist fundamentalism in Texas and, thus, was actually the person who hired me to do this work in 1988.

He has been a courageous leader of Texas Baptists, taking strong stands in reorganizing the BGCT structure in a way that most will never fully appreciate. He has positioned us well for the future. He has made hard choices. He has stood for change, which is always difficult, and he has always put first the interests of our churches and institutions.

He has especially shown strong leadership in reminding Texas Baptists that the BGCT is an autonomous convention and not a “farm team” of the SBC. The BGCT is now healthier and more cooperative with other Baptist groups of like mind and passion, and more church-focused in its ministries and programs.


Charles is a pastor at heart and has a pastor’s heart for the local church and missions. Despite all of the changes, he has remained focused on how the BGCT can help the local church and promote missions. He has been a pastor for all Texas Baptists.

When I think of Charles, the word “heart” is the word that I think of first and foremost. I have often said to others, and to Charles, “I have never known a man with a better heart.” Charles is one of the most decent men I have ever known. He is full of love for God, Texas Baptists, and folks like you and me. Everything he has ever done as our Texas Baptist leader was, I am convinced, from the heart. And any mistake he made as our leader (and we all make mistakes) was a “heart” mistake—that is, perhaps believing in someone too much, trusting someone too much, hoping for the best from someone too much. I think that God is such an integral part of his life that he could never intentionally do otherwise.

Charles will remain our Executive Director for 9 more months, and I know him well enough to know that he will work hard every day for God’s Kingdom and Texas Baptists.

We all owe him our gratitude for doing this important job at a critical time in our history as Texas Baptists.